The test determines the risk of prostate cancer without visiting the physician or having a rectal examination. The test uses the 'PUR' test device and provides patients with quick answers to urgent urological questions.
Designed by British researchers, the PUR (Prostate Urine Risk) test is designed to detect aggressive prostate cancer and the need for treatment up to five years before conventional clinical tests. The research team believes that the invention could also form the basis for testing devices targeting bladder or liver cancer.
The latest study on the test device shows how patients can collect urine samples at home for clear results. The research team considers this step to be extremely relevant, as the first urine in the morning provides the clearest biomarker results for the prostate.
Dr. Jeremy Clark, the lead author of the study, noted: "Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in England. Although the majority of tumors do not require treatment, physicians often find it difficult to tell whether tumors are becoming aggressive and what treatment is needed. Our 'PUR' test detects gene expression in urine samples and shows whether the cancer is aggressive or low risk.”
The physician added: "The fact that the first-morning urine can be collected for the test is a great step forward. This has the potential to revolutionize prostate cancer diagnostics, as urine can be easily collected at home and put into analysis. Patients would no longer have to go through uncomfortable digital rectal examinations and the test would be much more relaxed. This could hopefully motivate many more men to test themselves.”
The researchers equipped 14 patients with the 'PUR' device and compared the samples they had collected with a rectal examination. The evaluation showed that the biomarker data were much more distinct in the self-test and the patients found it much more comfortable.
"The self-test could revolutionize prostate cancer diagnostics because patients only have to go to the clinic if the result is positive. This is a significant advance on the current situation where painful and expensive biopsies are required every six to twelve months," said Dr. Clark.
Dr. Clark added: "Because the 'PUR' test detects aggressive prostate cancer and the need for medical treatment up to five years in advance, men would only need to be re-tested every two to three years in the event of a negative result. This relieves patients of a lot of stress and reduces the workload in hospitals.”
Webb M et al., Methodology for the at-home collection of urine samples for prostate cancer detection. BioTechniques 2019; doi:10.2144/btn-2019-0092